I’m pretty sure there’s a rule against switching to a static blogging system without writing at least one blog post about it. I’ve been considering switching to a static system for a little while, and for all of the normal reasons: faster loading time, the feeling that Wordpress was just a bit more than I needed, having all of my posts stored automatically as plain text files and liking to try with new things. Looking at the available choices, it came down to three options for what I might switch to:
My Own Thing
As someone who writes software, this option really appealed to me. If I wrote my own system it wouldn’t need to be as complicated as any others, because it wouldn’t have to be useable by anyone else. I could write it as a Mac app, and any issues I had I could just fix because I would understand every line of code. Carter Allen actually did exactly what I’m talking about, and the results look really good.
The reasons I didn’t do this is the time it would take to do it, and that I’d be solving a problem that’s already been solved. There’s a pretty good chance I’ll come back to this option at some point.
Pelican is written in Python, and was almost what I went with. In some ways it seems a bit simpler than Octopress, and Gabe wrote a great post about migrating to Pelican on MacDrifter that made it not seem too terrifying.
The reasons I didn’t go with Pelican are because it was a bit more difficult to get set up the way I needed it, and I didn’t feel as comfortable with the tools I was using. I probably could have gone with this and been equally happy.
The biggest reasons I ultimately went with Octopress over Pelican are that it was easy to set up and that once I made it through the initial setup, and that using it felt the most like using the tools I already know. Besides the commands which are specific to Octopress (create a new post, publish the site), the primary tool that I use to work with it is Git. Your sites folder is a Git repo, New themes are usually installed as submodules and upgrading it means pulling down the latest source from GitHub.
Both pre-made static blog systems seem like they can produce pretty much the same results, and either I think either is a good choice. The biggest question — I think — that determines if someone will like Octopress or Pelican more is they’re more comfortable with using Python specific tools or Git.